Required to Change Locks?

With each new tenant - is it a requirement to change the locks. And if so, should the security key to the front door and laundry key also be changed with each new tenant (I will have 46 tenants)?
Thanks, Jag

I would not change the security door lock or the laundry room lock. I am not aware of any Ohio law that requires any key to be changed BUT what will happen if you don’t change locks and the previous tenant uses a copied key to break-in and assult a tenant? You’ll be coming to Ohio for the lawsuit!


When if comes to locks there is a bunch of options. Check out You can change every lock at once and then just cores. Changing a core takes a second. It is the best route with a large apt building, in my opinion but the initial cost is a little costly.

Another option is: If you need 20 locks buy 22 and then just rotate them all.

Exactly what I was going to recommend.

I change then on tenant turnover for liability reasons.

During a tenant turnover, not only does the prior tenant possessed keys for the unit, but also, workman such as painters, plasterers etc. Imagine if the prior tenant, or a workman was a pedophile, or sex offender, gained entry to a rental unit with a key. The questions arises if I couldn’t simply changed the locks and prevented a preventable tragedy.

My dad is handy. changes cylinders himself, and simply alternates them tenancy to tenancy. He’s retired, cheap, and one time, he even get the pins for inside the cylinders, files them down for new keys, which I thought was ridiculous.

I actually get a locksmith to change it for me, it cost a few bucks, but no where near the liability if someone gets hurt.

I’ll have to find it, but I saw a discussion somehwere mentioning a system of changing keys for apartment buildings, where the cylinders can be easiy changed and swapped.

My mom in law’s tenant had a break-in, she and the insurance was obstinate in settling, and the tenant threatened to file suit on grounds of “safety and security”, which would’ve opened up a whole box of issues. one of which is if keys were changed. They weren’t. How do you know if the prior tenant didn’t sneak in??

If you can afford it, Medeco makes some of the best pin-tumbler locks around. One of my hobbies is lock picking and lock manipulation of safes. I have never been able to pick a Medeco lock. The keys are VERY difficult to duplicate, so much so that a regular key cutting machine can’t reproduce them. To get a copy made you must go through the manufacturer. They are pretty expensive compared to cheap Kwik-Set locks though. Rotating locks is still a good idea no matter the manufacturer.

I’ve played with removable core locks before and found most to be very cheap locks. One I was able to remove the core with nothing more than a screw driver.

If the building has a main front door that everyone has to enter, I’d recommend an electronic access code. Aiphone is the maker of the one’s I use. The biggest benefit of Aiphone systems is that they take a picture when someone enters the code.

I work in a store p/t and all of our locks are Medeco including the secure areas like the cash office where I work. I’ve seen them used a lot in places where good locks are needed.

Smart store!

I can’t fathom why some people protect their family and belongings with nothing more than a $5 lock from any hardware store. Medeco makes the some of the best locks I have seen.

If you’ve ever seen a Medeco key you’ll notice the notches are angled. The pins are mushroom shaped and have to be twisted individually inside the lock to open making picking damn near impossible. The entire lock is built with much stronger materials than most which makes drilling difficult. Of course the keys can’t be easily reproduced either.

If what is behind the door is worth protecting, I’d use a Medeco.

Well once you get past the door you still have to contend with a 7’ tall safe that has an alarm on it, the door to the room has an alarm and a motion detector, and the police dept is about 1/4 mile down the road. Oh, an the alarms are monitored by in house personnel and let me tell you something they respond fast. (I’ve set off the safe alarm a few times by mistake)

I won’t go into defeating alarms in an open forum but commercially available alarms aren’t that difficult to get around. I’m sure if you didn’t know there was magnetic contacts or motion detectors, you’d be in for a real surprise though. The biggest obstacle would be the safe containing paper that you wanted. That rules out the possibility of a fast opening.

To have a 7 foot safe, they must have a LOT of cash. It would surprise me if they didn’t have atleast a covert camera in that room watching you count the money and making sure you don’t get sticky fingers.

Covert? There are 3 in plain sight.

That would make me feel weird! Then again I don’t even like getting my picture taken. A good mix of overt and covert cameras is best. By trying to avoid the line of sight of the overt cameras, you are put yourself perfectly in the line of sight of the covert cameras.

How often does this place have an armored transport pick-up?

Daily. This is a large grocery store, $400-600k a week in sales.

The next step in security for me is installation of security cameras and a recording system, preferably PC based.

How would I know if a tenant staged a breakin, or a passerby staged a fall. And with cameras around, real or not, as most small multis don’t have them, evil doers would just move on to to easier pickings.

I gave it some thought when a tenant, a cop, was burglarized, he was jumping mad, and claimed I had something to do with it, as I got the keys, knew when he was in and out etc. Claimed he had tens of thousands of dollars in jewelry stashed at home, I got the keys. but how I earth can I prove I was lounging around that afternoon watching TV, and was too lazy even to go to the bathroom.

Funny how tenants got mink coats, expensive jewelry, $500.00 shoes when there’s a burglary. Which is why I stipulate in the lease they must carry renters insurance.

Because he was a narc,. a police revolver was taken, the street was filled with 20 to 30 cops, police cruisers everywhere, and the captain of my local precinct, as well as the narc unit on hand. And it was 10 blocks from the station house, all his buddies came by, and the place looked like a police convention,

The next day, a crime lab truck showed up dusting for prints. Guess what?? There was a match, and the perpetrator, not me, was found, was sitting in jail caught doing another crime a few days after the burglary.

I didn’t get this treatment when I had a burglary.

Security camers have come down in price, improved greatly in capability over the years.

Someone burglarizes him and they instantly have prints and a suspect…dozens of people murdered every year that go unsolved…

The next step in security for me is installation of security cameras and a recording system, preferably PC based.

Web based surveillance is something I swear by. Recording on tapes or disks with stationary monitors is antiquated in comparison. I use these systems around my house and investment properties. It certainly provides some assurance when you’re out of town.

Someone burglarizes him and they instantly have prints and a suspect.......dozens of people murdered every year that go unsolved.......

I’ve never heard of a crime against a LEO go unsolved…

Another good use of WEB based cameras is in big snow storms. I can’t get to my rentals, and I can see if they cleaned the snow out front as they’re supposed to.

And my dad, with commercial property, can prevent vandalism and grafitti, catching them in the act.

And they now put survellance videos on TV, one video caught a customer staging a fall, suing the convenience store. The fact that the customer was caught doing it, arrested, is already worth the cost of the survellance system.

Speaking of cameras there is a nice flat screen monitor, 4 in/outdoor night vision camaras, digital recording, plus free web based viewing cheap at costco. Costco site not working so I can’t get the link.

It was under $1000

Wow, what an amazing price. I have to check it out.